Monday, 23 November 2009

An extended wet Autumn - 21/22 Nov '09

There are still no great winter climbing conditions to speak of and my axes hang forlornly in my gear cupboard, almost ready to be used fully leashless if need be.
On the plus side, it's giving me ample oppurtunity to do some hillwalks in the cold wind, and to get my running back up to speed, in preperation for getting fit after feeling ill.  Unfortunately being back to climbing, running and the hills has meant my neck/shoulder/arm problem has insidiously crept back again!
Friday saw the 2nd round of the Avertical World winter bouldering series in which I did slightly better than last week and in which RB came first as usual, again beating all the Junior Boys and most definitely beating all the women in the Easy category too.
The 1st 10 problems seemed pretty easy this time round and the 2nd 10 much harder, with several of them being just far too reachy rather than being overly technical.  Very frustrating, more so for Bekah who has far more chance of actually managing something technical!  Also, there were no fun or daft problems this time round which was a bit disappointing.

D came round on Friday night (having a nosey at the wall before we left for mine) and on Saturday the forecast had been for very heavy rain and strong winds and indeed Angus had weather warnings, but upon opening the curtains we were pleasantly surprised to find a bright blue sky and frost on the roof tops.  Not to waste such a glorious morning we went for a stroll up to the Bothy at Glen Dye.  I had never realised this was a bothy, even though I'd ran past the building several times whilst out running, over the course of not summer past but the summer before.  Glen Dye is a wonderful place to run, many tracks snaking this way and that, as hard or as easy as you want to take it, over to Mount Battock, or up to Clach na Beinn, or just a gentle, undulating run up to the Water of Dye and back.  But beware of Adders on the path on a hot and dusty summer's day!

The forecast rain came later in the afternoon, and it came with a vengeance!  We were enjoying a laze after our stroll but I knew I should go out for our (earlier planned) run, regardless of the weather.  I've never seen Edzell so flooded before!  One route that I take, along the path at the side of the Esk, up to the Ganochy Bridge and back down to the village, was utterly flooded.  It was like running through a stream, and what with it being almost dark when we set off, and well into darkness by the time we reached the end of the woodland track, it was of utmost importance to lift the foot high when running lest a tree root, hidden in the depths of the long, murky path come puddle, trip us up and send us tumbling down into the river below!  Out onto the road, and that was no better, the road flooded in places from one end to the other.  It was joyous though!  How I love to run in the rain, my feet splashing through the water and the rain pouring down my already soaked body, jacket off, hat off, wet seeping through and keeping me cool.  D was being a gent and keeping my pace but straining at the bit towards the end so he pushed on ahead, me admiring his athletic form as the dark lights and rain of the village swollowed him up, wonderful!

Sunday's forecast was better, but we woke this day to rain which fortunately stopped around 9ish as we set off for the Corbett Ben Gulabin in Glenshee.  Neither of us had been up this hill so it seemed a good choice for a short day to beat the gales and rain that were forecast for later in the day.   It's a very easy hill, starting at around 350m and following a track all the way to the summit at 806m.  We didn't hang around for long as the wind was picking up, the mist had rolled in and there were no great views to speak of.  Again I think these hills would make great running ground, with their big wide tracks and easy ground and one can follow paths and tracks to the munros to the North, avoiding all the ski palaver if one so desires.  As it was, we were up and down in around an hour and half and back in the van just as the rain started to fall. 

Monday, 16 November 2009

STUCHD - 15th Nov '09

There has been nothing much to report on the climbing front of late as I've been pretty ill.  The flu knocked me out for around 4-5 days after coming back from holiday, followed by the cough from hell which turned out to be a case of acute Bronchitis.  Me being me, tried to keep on going (Wall anyone?  Bouldering comp anyone?  Benny Beg anyone?  Carn a' Mhaim anyone?  Running anyone?  Who me?)
So after a trip to the wall last week saw me feeling faint and dizzy and feeling pretty f*cking louzy I finally relented and realised this weary old body needed a rest.
God damn it though, there has been snow on the high hills and reports of Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis being done in snowy conditions, and Andy has done a route in the Cairngorms, as have several others.  That will teach me to push myself when sick though!
I don't think conditions have been *that* great however, mostly unfrozen and early season snow, so I don't feel that I've missed anything amazing.
Last weekend I had a much needed rest and went to visit a wonderful person in Glasgow
who'd been nagging at me to look after myself, (very effectively!) has taken care of me and who has completely captivated me.

This weekend we drove up to Glen Lyon in D's van and slept over, buffeted by the rain and wind, the van shaking to and fro through the night.  It was wonderful though to be cozy inside, to wake up, draw the blinds of the van and see the hills and mist outside, a hint of sunshine poking through the clouds, nature slowly awakening to a new day.
The van was parked up by the Giorra Dam at the head of Loch an Daimh, the Loch of The Stag (and there were plenty of stags around for sure!)

At around 9.30 am we made our way along side the loch and then up the sodden slopes of Coire Ban and up to point .887.  The cloud then came in with a shower, whereupon I realised I'd left my waterproof jacket back at D's house.  Rats!  I shoved on an extra fleece, my hat and buff and gloves to keep the damp at bay and we carried on through the mist and drizzle up to the summit of Stuchd an Lochain.  If the weather had been fairer I might have eagerly suggested we carry on to the nearby Corbett Sron a' Choire Chnapanich but as it was, it was a tad on the dreich side and me jacketless, was getting damp and cold!  D had pointed out to me earlier that, 'oh aye, lets just carry on to the Corbett, walk the Daimh skyline, bag the other munro Meall buidhe, and heck why not another couple of Corbetts added on too!'  I was politely told to behave myself, and just as well really as I *do* know that I have to get back into things slowly after being so unwell.

So a needed short day was had and neither of us felt too pushed and I rather enjoyed sludging down the wet path.  Although the path was more like a corroded and flowing watercourse!
Back to the van for a cup of tea (how ace is that!) and a nice drive back to Glasgow, then back to bonny Dundee for me.

Reports are coming in that the cliffs of Coire an t-Sneachda are bare of snow, that someone said Ewan Buttress in Lochain was in (dubious?) and that all the cliffs in the Loch A'an Basin are bare, but MacDui was holding snow.
Mamores have a little snow, so presuming the Ben still has some snow left too.
A lot of wet and stormy weather forecast for the next few days though and temperatures above the summits but the charts show the possibility of it being cooler towards Sunday.